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Full update from Costa Rica 2.5 week program

In the predawn light, a cluster of backpacks and suitcases steadily grew in the JFK Airport.  Anticipation, expectation, trepidation and excitement mingled in a flow of introductions and farewells… Parents said their final goodbyes and we set off for Costa Rica; eagerly exchanging greetings…

The plane descended through the clouds revealing azul waters and pointed peaks of green – Costa Rica was entering clear resolution.

Upon passing through customs, the group was met by a brilliant day and a smiling Annie and don Gerardo who lead us to the vans which would carry us to the mountain village of San Gerardo where orientation could commence proper.  Spirits were high as we entered the open road…

Despite a long drive after a significant flight, the group was met by don Francisco who owned and operated Hotel Descanso (don Francisco, now in his early 60s and lithe and fit as ever, has lived in San Gerardo his entire life and shared his wealth of knowledge).  After a traditional meal of gallo pinto pollo y frutas, the group happily took reprieve in their rooms…

The group cheerfully arose to sweeping mountain vistas and inviting food.  The group took to their leaders orientation games with alacrity; forsaking hesitation for engagement…

We set out with don Francisco to visit his shade-grown coffee farm on land that he inherited from his father.  The farm flowed up and into indigenous forest containing trees upwards of 1000 anos de edad.  We continued climbing until we reached the submit overlooking the valleys below and beyond.  We paused at the peak, taking in the view and planting sapplings that stemmed from a donation by the Global Routes participants….

We returned for lunch…

We braved the afternoon rain, hiking up to natural hot springs where we soaked away the fatigue and jet lag…

Upon arrival to our host community, San Salvador de Baru, the group was met by our host families who were ready with potluck style snacks and delicious juices.  Students met their host families then students, host parents and kids played a ferocious game of blob tag.  Soon students parted ways and set off in pairs with their host families for their first night in the home stay.

After settling in with our host families, everyone headed to bed in preparation for their first day on the work project.  Bright and early at 7:30am, the group met at the San Salvador elementary school.  After
a game and debrief of the first night, we dug the trenches for the project foundation and learned to build “tico style”, making a rebar frame.  Day two at the work site consisted of moving concrete blocks
in preparation for mixing and pouring cement tomorrow!  After work, some students attended a women’s soccer game with their host moms while others explored a local swimming hole.

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